In a desperate bid to not to be outdone by our amazing progeny, Sue and I will be hanging our first collaborative art show next week at the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance (PRCA) Gallery! The kind folks at the PRCA actually approached us about doing a joint show last year; there really wasn’t time to put it together then, but we agreed to do something this year.
In many ways the “simple” approach would have been a combination of Sue’s recent sculpture and my photography. We really wanted this to be a collaboration, though, and over the course of the year we worked together on a collection of photographs documenting her use of her body (in particular her head) as a canvas. Thousands of photographs were taken (over 7,000 in a single three month period!), forming the source material for the pieces that we’ll be hanging. Sue laid out the tableaus, I shot the hell out of them, and then we worked together to figure out what images to use and how.
Portraiture is one of the oldest of artistic disciplines, often providing an “objective” (or at least objectifying) view of the individual. These images examine an artist, Susan Gilbert, at work, capturing her use of her own head as canvas. Some of the photographs are disconcerting both in their underlying subject, and in their focus and presentation. Some are overtly political in their content, while all comment on how we see those around us and respond to change. No single image is the “true portrait” of the artist; they are all fragments of a whole, distorted by the cultural lens through which they are viewed.
The show includes the biggest photographic prints we’ve ever made (the largest is 60″x40″) and it’s quite something to see the work (and Sue’s head) that huge! We also have a diptych of collages that are 6 feet tall and together over 8 feet wide, so we definitely decided to “Go big or go home!”.
We’ll hang the show next Saturday (8 Feb) and the show will open on the 12th. There will be a reception at the gallery on Sunday, 16 Feb, from 7-8:30pm, where you’ll be able to publicly question our sanity while eating nummy snacks!